Sunday, March 13, 2011

spiced roasted pork and cauliflower

This pork roast was the last hold-out from the SUPER AWESOME box o' meat that my parents got us for Christmas. It was slightly sad to see it go because it's been hanging out in my freezer like a nice porky safety blanket for a couple months now - but it had to be cooked before it got freezer burnt.

So! What to do with a boneless pork roast? Aside from the bit of fat across the top of the roast, it was actually quite lean so I guessed it was a loin cut (it didn't say). I took a knife and scored the layer of fat, sprinkled it with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then concocted an "empty the spice rack" rub - cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder, dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, paprika...yeah. I think that's everything. ;) I rubbed it on the meat and then put the roast in the oven for 60 minutes at 425 degrees (it was still a tiny bit icy in the middle so I gave it a little extra time).

In the meantime, I trimmed a head of cauliflower and cut it into eight wedges. I drizzled them with olive oil, kosher salt and cracked black pepper, along with a little bit of the left-over rub I'd used on the roast. I used a trick I got from America's Test Kitchens, which is to line the roasting pan with foil, put the cauliflower on, then put another layer of tinfoil over the top and seal the edges. This basically roasts and steams the cauliflower at the same time, cooking it faster and keeping it from drying out but also giving it a lovely layer of roasty goodness on the surface that touches the pan. To maximize the roasty goodness, I pulled the pan out after about 12 minutes, opened up the foil packet and flipped the wedges, then sealed 'er back up and stuck it back in the oven for another 12 minutes or so. Ta-dah! DOUBLE-SIDED ROASTY GOODNESS! :)

I made the rookie mistake of letting the roast sit on top of the stove while the cauliflower finished cooking, and it made it a little bit dry in places, but the flavor was quite nice and I'd definitely use that rub again if I can ever duplicate it...hah!